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Letters to the editor for April 23, 2021
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Letters to the editor for April 23, 2021

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Urge Biden to raise refugee limit

Please urge President Biden to follow through on his pledge to raise the ceiling of refugees allowed to enter the United States. Earlier this year President Biden and the US State Department had developed a plan to raise this ceiling to 62,500 refugees this current fiscal year and then to 125,000 for fiscal year 2022. Under the Trump administration that ceiling had been cruelly lowered from an annual average of 95,000, until last year it was only 15,000.

Refugees are people fleeing political and religious persecution. The administration of their cases is totally separate from that of ordinary immigrants. Refugees’ lives are literally in danger in their countries of birth. For example, members of the Hazara ethnic and religious minority in Afghanistan are in mortal danger, and will be especially so after the withdrawal of allied troops from that country in September. Hundreds of Hazaras have been murdered and thousands displaced by the Taliban in the last three years. Our country is made up of many people who fled religious, political, and ethnic persecution. To limit the number of such refugees now is a tragic betrayal of our nation’s best traditions.

Last Friday President Biden seemed to retreat from his pledge to raise the ceiling, saying it would remain at 15,000 this year. Hundreds of flights of refugees were canceled, and people were left very uncertain about their future. As of March 31, only 2,050 refugees had been admitted to the US in 2021. President Biden’s press secretary later clarified that the final decision about this year’s ceiling will be made by May 15. Please call or write to the President and urge him to follow through on his previous commitment to raise the ceiling to at least 62,500 this year and 125,000 for the next fiscal year.

PHIL STUMP

Lynchburg

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